It’s time when ideas plant in my brain

My loving wife frequently asks me: “Where would you be without a project?”

And while I feel like I am more than willing to relax in a lounge chair during the doldrums of winter or the dog-days of summer, I admit I get antsy often. And, unfortunately, I have set the precedent of – occasionally – starting something that may not necessarily need doing.

For example, while living in Florida, there was more than one incident of removing turf to put in ornamentals. And perhaps, I may have reversed course and removed the ornamentals to once again put in turf. I chalked it up to experimentation while she may have considered it a waste of time.

During our last six years here in Durango, I have been known to “over-construct” vegetable beds, plant grass, (and then remove it) and move perennials multiple times.

So, in 2013, I have made a pledge to limit my outdoor projects.

Sort of.

Our new deck requires more containerized plants (duh!), the new raised vegetable beds (built last year) will have to be filled (just in case the kids want to eat), and a redone ornamental bed needs numerous new plants (OK, no justification there).

Now, if Andrea were to read this, those may sound like “projects.” But they’re not. I like to call them “beautification” and “safety” activities.

So what plants might find their way into my yard in 2013?

In the above-mentioned deck containers, I am looking at planting two apple trees on a dwarfing rootstock. This will allow me to keep the trees under 8 feet tall and containerized. Possible cultivars include Zestar, Pink Lady or Honeycrisp.

I have had some challenges with getting certain varieties of raspberries to survive. However, Boyne has proved to be very successful for me, and I will remove the others (Nova, Royalty and Polana) and replace with more Boyne plants.

For some goofy reason, I plan to dedicate one of the raised beds to more tomatoes and peppers. This could prove idiotic, but I have consistently been able to grow these well. And while I like to sample the wide variety of tomatoes out there, I tend to stick to the basics: Stupice and Fourth of July as my early reds, Lemon Boy as my yellow tomato, Sun Gold as the smaller, cherry-type variety, and Brandywine as the heirloom choice. Peppers are pretty simple: let New Mexico grow the NuMex green chiles, I will stick with jalapeños, and as I mentioned last article, shishitos. These finger-sized delights are prolific in production and when quickly sauteed with olive oil and salt, more addictive than popcorn.

My good friend and plant guru, Lisa Bourey, has also recommended some waterwise perennials for my new ornamental bed: Redbirds in a Tree (Scrophularia macrantha), Four O’clocks (Mirabilis multiflora) and some different types of Red Hot Pokers, including the dwarf varieties (Kniphofia triangularis). She also has some great ideas for some smaller trees that would work well in my limited landscape: bigtooth maples (Acer grandidentatum), wayleaf oak (Quercus undulata), and mountain mahogany (Cercocarpus montanus).

See? These few “activities” could be completed in one short weekend!

Or maybe two. Or three. ... I’ll just enlist my wife’s help.

parmenterdm@co.laplata.co.us or 382-6464. Darrin Parmenter is director and horticulture agent of the La Plata County Extension Office.

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